I pulled out the grill (I have a charcoal grill — I prefer the end results over gas) for the first time this spring. I made one of my favorite chicken recipes, Gai Yang. Gai yang is a beloved “street food” in Thailand — you find it everywhere, and when you get it, it comes in a plastic bag, together with another plastic bag of delicious spicy pepper dipping sauce. The marinade for the chicken calls for a commonly used ingredient in Thailand, including fresh, scraped coriander (cilantro) roots. If that’s not available, you can use the stems of the plant (which is what I use, and it seems to work well). This grilled chicken is flavorful and wonderful. I hope you’ll try it!
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lbs), cut into 8 pieces (so you end up with 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 drum sticks)
2 stalks lemongrass (lower 6 inches), outer leaves removed and very finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh garlic
3 Tbsp fresh coriander root, or 1/4 cup coarsely chopped coriander stems
1 1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp (plus) canola oil
Add lemongrass, ginger, garlic, coriander root (or stems), turmeric, brown sugar, fish sauce and oil to a food processor. Puree to a very fine paste, adding additional tablespoons of oil as needed.
Combine chicken pieces and paste in a large bowl. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Be sure to stir chicken mixture occasionally.
Grill chicken about 25 minutes, until cooked but not overdone. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a spicy Thai chili dipping sauce.